What I've seen so far and what I think will happen

Earlier today I read a post by Amar detailing preseason stats for Points Per Shot (PPS) and Points Per Game (PPG). While reading I had a brilliant thought. "What if I multiplied the two together to see how good of a scorer someone really is." Oh and i decided to call this metric my Awesome Shooting Score (ASS). Basically, if a player is an efficient shooter (ie. has a high PPS) but doesn't score much (lower PPG), or they score a lot (high PPG per 36 minutes) but aren't efficient about it (lower PPS) their ASS score won't be so great. Only someone who scores well and shoots efficiently would reflect well on the ASS metric. (I didn't include players who won't make the team)


As you can see from the chart we have had some good scoring this preseason, especially from the Williames (25.4 for Mo and 26.34 for Marvin), the UnderKanter (a whopping 29.98), and Kevin Murphy (36.38). Hayward (22.75) Millsap (23.17), and Alec Burks (23.68) have also done very well. Big Al (14.02) and Favors (14.69) have struggled a little, while Foye (11.27) and Tinsley (8.75) have been downright awful! Jeremy "Dunk" Evans (10.71) and Demarre (11.6) haven't been so hot either. This graph pretty much confirms what we already knew: We have 4 capable guard/wing scorers (sorry, Murphy won't get the minutes to help out much this year) and 4 big men who we expect to score well too. Al and Favors should be better than these numbers show while Kanter can't possibly (or can he?) quite keep this pace. Outside of those 8 players we're fairly limited on the offensive end (although I hope for everyone's sake Foye improves or gets benched). Any way you look at it we can hope for a dynamic and balanced offense.


Speaking of offensive balance I took the raw statistics for the preseason and prorated them to 36 MPG levels for each player. When looking at this graph remember that this comes from small sample size and significant differences can arise from different lineup combos as well as who is playing defense. But scoring is still scoring no matter who it's with or against, so I think it's still an interesting graph to look at. If needed we basically have 10 players who could score in double figures at any given time. I feel like most of these 36 MPG values pass the eye test, although I wouldn't count on Enes putting in 21.3 and we know Big Al is good for a lot more than 14.0. I think 18.4 might be slightly high for Gordon but I wouldn't be surprised if he grew into that kind of production. The values themselves aren't as important here as the fact that we clearly have a deep roster and lots of potential offensive production.


These are the stats from last year for the 10 rotation players on our roster. I used these stats, along with what we've seen so far in the preseason to project corresponding values for this season. I expect Coach Corbin to use these 10 players almost exclusively. If anyone gets injured or otherwise dropped from the rotation, they would be replaced by Murphy, Carroll, or Evans. They'd also get time in blowouts or if we have particularly bad foul trouble. As far as the Earl Watson situation goes, I think when he gets healthy either he or Tinsley will take over the backup PG spot. They also might split those minutes. Either way I don't really care because they are clearly not scorers and therefore not incredibly relevant to this analysis.


As you can see I think Mo and Tinsley will take a very slight decline in minutes while Gordon and Marvin will slightly increase theirs. I really see Paul being the one who has to give up significant minutes (possibly playing off the bench) to make way for Favors and ENES MUTHA@#$%!&# KANTER, but Al will drop a few minutes too. I really hope Burks sees a serious increase in playing time and from what I've seen from Foye I hope he takes a big hit. As far as the specifics go, I divided the 48 PG minutes between Mo (28), Tinsley/Watson (12), and Foye (8). 28 minutes is about what Mo got last year and a tiny bit more than Devin played for us. I think Foye will play a como guard and therefore use some of the "PG" dedicated minutes. Tinsley or Watson can take whatever is left. There are 96 minutes for wings and I'll divide them like this. Gordon (32) and Marvin (28) will be the main wings. Burks (20) will be the main backup with Foye (8) and Millsap (8) poaching a few away from their main positions. Gordon's split should end up around 24/8 for SG/SF. That's two more minutes overall than he had last season. Burks has shown his abilities and deserves an increase from 13.2. I am really liking Marvin and I see him getting a bit more time than last year. I would love for our big man split to go like this. Al (32), Favors (24), Millsap (20), and Kanter (20). Al had 34.3 last year so he'll have to sacrifice a bit for the good of the team. Favors, despite his inconsistent preseason, is on the verge of being a star and already provides excellent defense and energy. Kanter seems to have improved immensely and could be the most improved player in the NBA this year. Millsap, bless his heart, will have to give up post minutes in exchange for SF minutes to fit in. I would be in favor of trading him at the trade deadline if Kanter and Favors show they can excel.


I realize there is a lot going on in this graph so I'll try to sum it up and analyze it in a quick and easy to understand manner. I plotted the PPS scores for the preseason so far against values for all of last season and used those (plus my own guessing) to estimate values for this year. Looking at our starting 5 I like what I've seen from Mo and I expect him to be more motivated this year and shoot the ball a little better. He played second fiddle to CP3 in L.A. and it looks like he's prepared to have a bounce-back year. He does shoot a lot but he makes 3-pointers and is an elite free throw shooter. I think he'll post somewhere around 1.25 points per shot this year (up from 1.12). Gordon, if he continues to be aggressive and make 3's, should have a great PPS score (1.35) because he gets to the rim and makes free throws. This projection is only a modest upgrade from last year (1.33) where he came on strong at the end. Marvin has been incredible so far so I expect him to improve upon his 1.24 PPS to somewhere around 1.35. I can see Paul getting frustrated as his minutes decline and therefore being less efficient. I project him at slightly less than his PPS last year (1.23). Big Al is Big Al. He takes a lot of shots and doesn't get fouled much, but he's good at what he does. I see him hitting 1.15.

Off the bench Burks is a potent scorer and has shown it so far. I think he'll be somewhere in between last year and what he's shown this year, so i projected 1.30. Derrick Favors posted a 1.29 PPS last season and in the preseason so I think anything above 1.30 will be good for him. The UnderKanter wasn't so bad (1.28) according to PPS in 2012 and has been great so far (1.41) so I project him at 1.35. Randy Foye and Jamaal Tinsley both hovered around 1.0 PPS last year and haven't done much to show me they're going to improve.


In order to project PPG for this year I applied the exact same logic (using last season's numbers and preseason stats, along with eye tests and hope for improvement) to calculate estimated points per minute values for every rotation player. After multiplying those by what I projected for MPG and prorating it for an offense who scores 99.8 PPG (the same as last year) I got this graph. As you can see, Al leads the way (15.8) with less than he did last year. I think he'll be roughly as efficient but won't be as big as a focal point. Outside of him we have 4 very capable and fairly efficient scoring starters, headlined by G-Time (13.2). Mo and Marvin should score well (12.3/11.0) with Millsap taking a hit (12.1) due to less playing time and decreased efficiency. On the bench side of things Favors, Burks, and Kanter will do their part (9.5/8.8/8.6) with Foye and Tinsley (5.7/2.7) bringing up the rear. Keep in mind these numbers assume we score, as a team, exactly the same as last year. Based on the pace and play I've seen I think we should be better this year.


Tying this all together and bringing it back to my original metric (Awesome Shooting Score), here is what I project for ASS based on minutes, points, and efficiency. There's not a whole lot to say here that hasn't been said. But if you read all of this I thank you. GO JAZZ!


All comments are the opinion of the commenter and not necessarily that of SLC Dunk or SB Nation.

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